Coal Keeps CCC Boys Warm at Camp Prescott

Jan 30, 2014

 One of the successful Depression Era Civilian Conservation Corps camps in Southern Oregon was on Roxy Anne Butte in Medford, Ore.  In November 1935 new recruits who had nearly frozen in their tents in Vancouver, Wash., arrived at Roxy Anne’s Camp Prescott.

 For the new recruits, Camp Prescott was a big improvement, but wood stoves still did not keep the barracks warm all night. Looking for a slower burning fuel, O.F. West, the camp’s education adviser from a wealthy Pennsylvania coal mining family, immediately followed up on rumors of coal in the region.  He found it less than a mile from the camp. Pioneers had discovered the coal and sometimes used it. When the railroads came to the valley in the 1880s, they explored the surface coal, but it was not suitable for locomotives.  West and four recruits who had been coal miners, found it perfect for keeping the barracks warm all night. West would have been happy to strike a rich vein of quality coal for his recruits to develop, but that didn’t happen.

 Sources: "Roxy Anne CCC Mines Own Coal." Medford Mail Tribune 11 Nov. 1935: 6. O'Harra, Marjorie. "Roxyann and the Cascade Coal & Mining Co." Jefferson Public Radio. N.p., 20 Mar. 2005. Web. 7 Dec. 2013.